Friday, 29 June 2007

For the third time of asking...

... an intended gym session has been replaced by a run... but in a previous life, it would have been replaced by a big fat zero.

Yesterday was a long, bimbling walk - round the Royal Norfolk Show, which was great fun. Today, I had the whole day to get the house cleaned and ready to welcome a gang of visitors this weekend: my husband celebrates 25 years as a Church of England priest this Petertide (which deserves a medal, methinks), and we have a few friends from previous corners of his life coming to join in the service this Sunday. Plan was to schedule in a gym visit late afternoon before choir practice and then over the road to the pub for a Thai Night.

Oh, the best laid plans... Long conversations with business colleagues (relating to a rather difficult project with which I've been involved for ages) were very productive and encouraging, but wiped out a big lump of the day; and by the time I'd got the house back to a state that was at least hygienic, if not up to Kim & Aggie standards, I'd run out of time again...

... so it was back out on my usual two-mile route. As with the previous two occasions, however, I was glad to have achieved it on one hit, without a break; in twenty minutes; and now I can also state that the HR didn't go above 160 bpm, and for the majority of the run stayed around 150. Better still, I felt good when I got back - not as in smug (who said that?!) but as in physically comfortable and well. Who'd've believed it?

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Somebody's on my side

A busy day at the desk, on the PC and in the house. Originally due to meet Kim for a PT session this evening, but she had a diary clash and had to cancel. "That's alright - I'll go on my own anyway", I said.

Suddenly it was after seven o'clock, and we hadn't thought about eating yet... and the weather was dreadful. Damn. I don't want to skip a session, but I just don't have time to spend two hours getting down to the gym and doing a workout - and I don't fancy running in a torrential downpour. A drizzle I can cope with, but this would be real masochism.

And suddenly, the rain stopped; the sun came out; the clouds were still there, but that fabulous effect where steel-grey clouds behind a sunny field look almost blue; and it was a glorious evening. On went the shoes, and two miles non-stop gave me my buzz for today.

(I didn't have the mobile or camera with me, but this shot out of my window just now gives a fair idea.)

For this relief, much thanks.

Three months' worth of distance run

Yesterday I mentioned this idea of incremental running, and I've just worked out what I've run so far. I've looked back at my records (I'm a sad soul, it's all captured in Excel spreadsheets...) and see that since my very first run - 24th March - I've run approximately 72 miles (if my assessment of the distance of each run is correct). That's about 14 weeks' running, so I'm doing an average of just over 5 miles each week - for a beginner, not bad.

72 miles also happens to be pretty much exactly the distance from my home in Norfolk down to the city of Cambridge. So I've just about arrived in time to get a Chelsea bun from Fitzbillies...

My next target, therefore, is to continue down the A11 to reach my parents' home in Walthamstow - a total of 112 miles from my home. I'll let you know when I get there!!

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Scary photos

As you'll have seen, I've been thoroughly narcissistic on this blog. I've been gradually gathering photos from throughout my 44 years, and it's been interesting to see how the physique is different now from at any time in the past.

I came across a couple of photos today which make scary viewing.

I actually dug them out because I wanted to show my hairdresser the way my hair behaved when it was long: straight on top, but with bizarre curls underneath, and incredibly thick and heavy. I asked Emma how old she thought I was in this photo. "About thirteen?" she suggested. Actually, the yellow tie marks me out as being in the sixth form, and therefore at least seventeen. Zits, a round face and no sense of style.

This one is even more worrying.

Taken during my first year or so at college, and hence round about nineteen years old; I know from diaries that I didn't weigh much over nine stone in those days, but just look at the round face. No cheekbones in evidence there.

I really hope I've improved in the last 25 years...

Incremental running

Whilst in Norwich today (for the haircut) I bought a copy of Runner's World to see if I might subscribe to it - I've already found its online forum very useful and supportive. On a brief glance through it over a sandwich in Pret a Manger, I like what I see: for example, I love the article about Steve Oxley's technique of incremental running. You tot up the miles you've run across a given period, and figure out how far it would add up to on a map.

Steve 'reached' Central London [from Hull] in June... "I had just run down the Mall, touched Nelson's Column and was now heading back north..."

What a great idea. And, as he says, it sounds more impressive than "I've been for a three mile run"!

I wonder how far I've run since March? I'll have to work it out and let you know...

One mile good, two miles better

After a rather "bitty" day in which I didn't feel I'd achieved very much - except getting my hair cut, and that was the hairdresser's achievement, not mine - I was about to change into something sloppy-joe for the evening before tidying up, and realised I'd meant to go for a run. Previous incarnations would've given up at that point and had a severe fit of the soddits; but it didn't feel too difficult to put down the sloppy-joes and pick up the running kit. Especially as it wasn't actually raining (unlike most times I've ventured out recently).

I deliberately kept it low-key, slow but with reasonably long strides, working on the Run Easy principle, and enjoyed it. Not only that, but for the first time I did the whole two miles - down to Morton Hall and back again - in one hit; and frankly, it felt easier when I didn't pause in between. My usual routine has been to stop at the halfway point, stretch, get breath back and set off again. This time I just kept going, and keeping the pace gentle meant that the two mile stretch was fine. Better still, I managed it in just under twenty minutes.

Come to think of it, I don't think I've run two miles in one hit since the Race for Life. Even my longer runs at the Lakes have been a maximum of three half-mile circuits before stopping.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

A long walk

Today was Swannington in Bloom day: one of the villages in the team of churches that my husband is responsible for. Fourteen gardens spread around the village, each with their own beautiful style. There were two tractors driving the route around the village, as the distance between the two furthest properties from each other must've been about 2-3 miles. Yes, I know I should have been walking the whole thing; but being ill-shod for serious walking, I used the tractors to get to and from the furthest garden. However, just going around the gardens nearest to each other, to the village green for plant sales and tombola (as you do), and so forth, still registered over 11,000 steps on the pedometer, and nearly 7 km... I think that counts as my exercise for the day!

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Decluttering: a good workout

No gym or running today, but this was more than compensated by the fact that my present decluttering client needs a great deal of clearance from outside storage spaces. Move, chuck, keep, transport, reshuffle, pile, sort... not sure which muscle combination it was working, but it felt like ALL of them.

And Crabby talks a lot of sense, too...

A great article by Crabby McSlacker (who I found a few posts back, and whose superb attitude to real life I much enjoy) about Getting Off the Couch. Not only that, but the comments by her readers about "half-assed is good enough" (i.e.: any effort, no matter how small, is an improvement over nothing) are so, so relevant to Miss Completer-Finisher (as I was hard-wired at birth).

Friday, 22 June 2007

Need to run

Friday: a visit to the gym, needfully quick as after a day's client work at the PC, I had to get shopping and be back for a rehearsal for church choir in the evening. Figured that if I did just warmup and weights, it would take me an hour. Feeling a bit "scratchy" (our household shorthand for out-of-sorts, or perhaps cranky); wanted to run it out of my system. Did just fifteen minutes on treadmill, then rest of the routine. I was nearly not late for rehearsal... did they tell me that this exercise lark is as addictive as any drug??

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Runners talk good sense

The more I find blogs, articles, forums and the like about running, the more I like the running community. They are honest. They might procrastinate as much as the next man or woman (actually, probably more so), but at least they're up-front about it, rather than hiding it like a chocolate-bar-wrapper in the desk drawer. We can all keep moving the goal-posts - what is an excellent achievement to me (5K in 39 minutes without stopping, walking or keeling over) is small beer to the runner who is trying to get her PB down to 5K in under 18 minutes (what?!) - but that means that we can appreciate our own achievements, rather than feeling overawed by how far ahead the front-runners (forgive the pun) are.

I've browsed my way to Complete Running, and the most recent article (at the time of writing) speaks to me so clearly. Jank's article on Motivation is glorious.

He quotes Cory Doctorow (where do they get these names?!):

"Garbagemen never talk about having garbagemen’s block. Doctors never say, “I can’t do surgery today, I’m just not in the mood.” If it’s your job you have to be able to write when it’s time to write."

Running is like that - if you wait for the perfect weather, or have to have a complete and total set of gear absolutely every time you head out the door, you’re not going to make it.

The very first time I ran with Kim, we were actually booked for a PT session in the nice, warm, protected gym. She phoned me beforehand, said "we're going for a run. Bring something warm to wear." (This was in March.) We did it. It was fine - more than fine, actually - the first steps on a very important journey. And we did it on a cold, blustery, damp March day. So when I ran my two miles today - warm, sunny June, with skylarks overhead - so much the better.

It puts me in mind of when we came to Norfolk for the interview for these parishes. Late November, and a frankly disgusting day. We still loved the place, and still took the job when it was offered to him. We then came back just before Christmas; then again in early February; in early March; and we finally moved in on (naturally) April 1st. Each of those three return visits was in weather as awful as the first time - in fact, the March visit was made in thick snow.

When we moved into the Rectory in April, it was a glorious day, and we knew we'd made the right decision. But then, we'd known that all along. Because we didn't wait for the right conditions; it was the right place. And that's where I am now. Work, tense hamstrings, busy, bored, happy, depressed - none of them make any difference. What makes the difference is that I know that I can make my own difference.

New web resource

I have discovered an excellent new forum for mutual support, encouragement and the occasional bit of gentle bullying. Just what I need. The Runner's World UK website cropped up when I was Googling for another 5K to train for (more of that in a moment), and the friendly banter that goes on in their forums - not to mention sensible advice - is well worthwhile. The lists of races, searchable by distance, county and all manner of other criteria, are very helpful. Check it out.

Oh, and the 5K? I don't feel a 10K is realistic yet (which is the distance for the next set of Cancer Research events - hopefully I'll be ready for that in a few months' time), but I need another target for the near future. It turns out that the Wroxham 5K series, courtesy of the Norwich Road Runners, is just what I need. One (of the series of three) has already happened, the second is coming up in a few days' time, but the third is on 22nd August, just before our holiday. It's a race rather than a fun-run, but apparently regarded as beginner-friendly, and there are no scary limitations - like getting through the first half of the race in ten minutes flat (!).

So my aim for this race is to (obviously) run the whole thing; maintain a ten-minute-mile as far as possible; and therefore to finish in something under 34 minutes - preferably 32 or 33. I've got two months to do it - I reckon this is possible. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Running, facials and thunder

- all in one evening, although not all at once!

To Wymondham for a run with Kim. It had been a beautiful day, and when we set out it was very warm but lovely running round the town. Took a route that was probably a little under two miles, as we needed to get back, changed and out again quickly (see below), but I was glad to feel that the pace was comfortable, and that I was - as the Reebok site has it - "running easy". This is a good feeling.

A rapid wash, change and meal before going to a demonstration of Aloe Vera products in a beauty salon in the town. It's hard not to sound bigheaded (but you're used to that by now) when I say that I was thrilled to be pointed out by Kim, during more than one conversation she was having during the evening, as an example of a success story for personal training! Confidence in what I was wearing (pillar-box red skirt, stripy t-shirt & cardigan - yes, from East again) is a feeling that takes some getting used to, too. It's another world.

Whilst we were in the salon, the heavens had opened; and by the time we were back at her flat for a cup of tea before I went home, the storm had started in earnest. Happily, we both rather like thunderstorms, and sitting in her kitchen by candlelight, watching forked lightning on both sides of the house and listening to the torrential downpour, was a good place to be. Driving home up the A11 wasn't so much fun, though...

Monday, 18 June 2007

Pilates: begin at the beginning

I went to the Pilates' Beginners Class this morning - much better for me at this stage than the mixed / intermediate version last week. Especially good, as there were only four of us, so it was easier for Mary to pay us individual attention.

I've been coming to the conclusion that whilst the every-other-day pattern is fine for "serious" exercise - hard work, a run or a full gym session - I feel fidgety and a bit out of sorts if I spend all day at the PC and nothing else. So on the in-between days, I figure I need something which counts as exercise, but is a bit gentler. Like a Pilates session, or a walk, or even just some energetic housework, or... well, I'll see what other alternatives I can come up with...

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Save his life

I'm sorry if anybody is shocked by this post being filed by the rector's wife, but I couldn't resist sharing this...

I occasionally get the magazine Zest (also responsible for publication of the excellent Running Made Easy book that helped me so much when I started). Re-reading the May issue, there is an article pointing out that orgasms are good for your health. Well, we could have told them that... but I couldn't stop giggling at this one.

If you don't have sex with me tonight, I'll die! This might sound like a particularly tragic male chat-up line, but research shows that there is in fact a correlation between male orgasm frequency and life expectancy... researchers found mortality risk was 50% lower among men who had frequent orgasms, defined in the study as two or more per week, than among men who had few than one a month... Perhaps it would be wise to keep this little gem of information to ourselves, or we might be subjected to choruses of "Last night a BJ saved my life"...

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Hats off

I just got back from an afternoon's garden party in Caister with the Norwich chapter of the Red Hats Society. You can read more about them, and their superb attitude to life, at their own blog here.

But the dress code is very specific. The ladies who have passed their 50th birthday must dress in purple with a red hat; those younger should wear lilac with a pink hat. (Actually, my outfit was in that sense back-to-front, but hey.) I was delighted to find this great Kaliko trouser-suit in the Oxfam charity shop in Magdalene Street in Norwich a few weeks ago, and it was perfect for the occasion.

I got Selwyn to take a photograph of me on my arrival home, before I got changed, and can't resist another bit of celebration (OK, boasting). That "before" photo, used full-length, makes a great contrast - don't you think?

A surprise

I've been accustomed for the last couple of weeks to seeing a fairly consistent 147-148 lb on the scales. I suppose I wanted to see whether the lifestyle (food, exercise etc.) was balanced right to keep the weight around the same without thinking about it too much, and that seems to be the case.

However, yesterday I did quite a lot of walking (retail therapy in Norwich!) followed by a visit to the gym. It wasn't quite the full workout (it was so hot that I have to admit to omitting my usual half-hour on the treadmill & Nautilus) but 5 minutes each on bike and rower to warm up followed by an hour's weights.

And this morning I was not a little startled when the scales registered 145.5 lb... Given that yesterday I was actually slightly disheartened by the fact that in stores like Zara I'm clearly still a Large (anything size 12 and upwards seems to be Large in their book), this was a very welcome boost to the morale. (A visit to East, who do the complete reverse and are very generous with their sizes, restores faith. Honestly - doesn't it just go to show how nonsensical it is to be bothered by such things at all?!!)

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Too darn hot

I'd promised myself a run round the lakes today. My jaunts to Morton are only ever mile-there-mile-back, and the lakes give me the chance to pace out in half-mile circuits what I can manage. It's been beautiful all day, so that was promising...

By the time I got to the lakes after finishing the work I had to do, it had clouded over. And got very, very hot indeed. I used the smaller lake - which by timing an initial walking circuit, I reckon is one-third of a mile, as against the half-mile of the larger lake - for one x walk, 2 x jog (5 minutes and 2 x 4 minutes respectively). So far, so good - one mile done.

Then I started to run round the larger lake, with the intention of keeping going as long as I could. That hamstring is still not comfortable - not exactly painful, but distracting; and whilst my HR was reasonable (stayed under 160 bpm, which for a steady 10 minute mile isn't too bad), the breathing was heavy - and I hate to think what the pollen count was. I managed three continuous circuits - each one coming in at around 4'30"-4'45"; but then I had to stop for water (which was in the car) and to get my breath back. I started off again, but after one more circuit I had absolutely had it; no way could I do any more.

I was a bit disappointed, as I really had wanted to see if I could manage 6 circuits on the trot - which would've been pretty close to 5 km. However, I suppose I did do about that in the whole session, with only a couple of breaks, and considering the weather that wasn't too bad.

Incidentally, as I drove home again, I was struck by the large amount of seed heads that seemed to be flying towards the car - they looked like dandelion clocks. No wonder the throat felt as though it was closing up!

I shall keep on trying...

Pilates: something new

I decided to try something I'd been vaguely aware of for some time: Pilates. There are classes at the gym I attend (Carrefour Norwich), so off I went this morning to Mary's class.

I was very interested and impressed. It's not easy to get the postures correct when you're new to them, but I could feel how it would benefit my "core strength", and hence that omnipresent threat of lower back pain. (Happily, I haven't needed to visit my osteopath for months, and it's definitely been miles better since I started this journey of fitness; but it still feels vulnerable sometimes, especially when I'm overtired or have spent too long in front of a computer.)

So I shall take myself off to the classes whenever I have a chance, and hopefully develop this as a new strand of my fitness.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

And God created...

Sorry, but I just had to include this - arrived by email in the usual way...


In the beginning God covered the earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, with green, yellow and red vegetables of all kinds so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's bountiful gifts, Satan created Dairy Ice Cream and Magnums.

And Satan said, 'You want hot fudge with that?

And Man said, 'Yes!'

And Woman said, 'I'll have one too with chocolate chips'.

And lo, they gained 10 pounds.

And God created the healthy yoghurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair.

And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat and sugar from the cane and combined them.

And Woman went from size 12 to size 14.

So God said, 'Try my fresh green salad'.

And Satan presented Blue Cheese dressing and garlic croutons on the side.

And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said, 'I have sent you healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them'.

And Satan brought forth deep fried coconut king prawns, butter-dipped lobster chunks and chicken fried steak, so big it needed its own platter.

And Man's cholesterol went through the roof.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with potassium and good nutrition.

Then Satan peeled off the healthy skin and sliced the starchy centre into chips and deep fried them in animal fats adding copious quantities of salt.

And Man put on more pounds.

God then brought forth running shoes so that his Children might lose those extra pounds.

And Satan came forth with a cable T.V. with remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels.

And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering light and started wearing stretch jogging suits.

Then God gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite.

And Satan created McDonalds and the 99p double cheeseburger.

Then Satan said, 'You want fries with that?' and Man replied,

'Yes. And super size 'em'.

And Satan said, 'It is good.' And Man and Woman went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed. And created quadruple by-pass surgery.

And then Satan chuckled, and created the National Health Service.

Double workout day

... well, not exactly, but that's how it felt!

One of my professional hats is as a "declutterer" - assisting people in their homes and offices to get rid of what they don't want or need, and leaving space to be able to find and use what they do. I spent Monday working with Anne-Marie, a new client, and we had a highly productive and satisfactory time making inroads into the outside storage areas. There's nothing like manhandling piles of rubbish, recycling, stuff for car-booting etc. to work the muscles!

I'd promised myself faithfully that I'd go to the gym this evening - it was on my way home, for goodness' sake - and despite driving there feeling my muscles screaming you cannot be serious, I ignored them and managed a full workout. 10 minutes warmup, 20 on the Nautilus, 10 on the cross-trainer, followed by an hour of assorted weights and resistance equipment. No surprise, though, that there were less reps managed than on my previous visit; the phrase fatigued took on a whole new meaning. My final task of the day was to pick up a few items from the supermarket, and by that time I was ready to curl up in the trolley and fall asleep!

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Back on track

It's been four days since I did any exercise. Four days... A few months ago, that would have been pretty impressive (exercise once every four weeks would have been impressive!), but now it's just not enough.

On Wednesday, James the masseur came to work on a very tight ham-string (which is still feeling sore now), so I didn't think it wise to run then. Thursday, the day off, turned into a major housework day for the Rectory inhabitants - we did the grocery shopping, bought a couple of household items, cleaned the place, felt as though we'd achieved stuff together, but no gym and no running.

And on Friday, it was a great example of life getting in the way. Working from home is wonderful lots of the time - it gives the flexibility for doing everything off-peak, for a start - and if your body works better (as mine does) with mid-afternoon exercise than early morning (oh, I am so not a lark), it's great.

However, it's equally easy to just keep working to meet a deadline - late evenings, weekends or whatever - when you're your own boss. As a result, the websites I was working on took over, and another project which has been causing me major problems for some months now took a difficult turn (which I won't bore you with). Result: I didn't leave the house.

Finally, today: on went the trainers this afternoon, and down to Morton and back. Hard work, but reasonable speed (just under 10 minutes each way). After final tweaks to new website and other admin for most of the day, it was a relief to get out of the house. Very red in the face on my return, and that darn hamstring is still not comfortable, but I did it.

Given that one of my next ambitions is to run a continuous 3 miles at not much over a 10 minute mile, I need to build this up further. The last thing I need to do right now is lose sight of where I'm going. Where I am now is wonderful, and I can't express how glad I am to be here (ok, ok, anybody reading the previous post would say you've had a pretty good go at doing just that); but it's where I'm going that's important. That's why previous attempts at weight loss and fitness have failed: losing sight of goals. And that's why I'm happy to be back on track.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Progress: a celebration

Yesterday saw my first gym session with Kim for a couple of weeks: we were booked to meet on Sunday, but she wasn't well. Yes, I should have gone and done the session on my own, but it was a roasting hot day; I had a car full of shopping, including ice-cream (Skinny Cow, I'll have you know!); and a mountain of work to do... (I did make up for it by having a run on Monday, honest. Kim said that melting ice-cream was the worst excuse she'd ever heard for not doing a workout, and that she'd better come and help me eat it.)

Anyway, we had a great session (followed by supper back at the Rectory). We updated all my statistics, and I can't resist bragging about them here.

When I started this journey - twenty weeks ago, on 14th January - I weighed 167 lb. Just under two weeks after that, I worked with Kim for the first time, weighing in at 164 lb, and we started calibrating not just weight but (more importantly) measurements, body fat, blood pressure and the rest. In those 18 weeks, these have changed in these ways.

  • Weight: 164 (previously 167) down to 147 lb
  • BP: 144/101 down to 127/95 (sometimes as low as 122/80)
  • Body fat: 38.6% down to 35.3%
  • BMI: 27.3 down to 24.5
  • Hips: 111 cm to 103 cm (-8 cm)
  • Waist: 89 cm to 85 cm (-4 cm)
  • Bust: 104 cm to 96 cm (-8 cm)
  • Left arm: 28.5 cm to 27 cm (-1.5 cm)
  • Right arm: 29 cm to 26.5 cm (-2.5 cm)
  • Left thigh: 58 cm to 54 cm (-4 cm)
  • Right thigh: 58 cm to 53 cm (-5 cm)
My dress size has decreased from bordering on a 16 to a 12-14, depending on the make (usually a 12). Kayla, my beautician, has seen me about once every 5-6 weeks during this process, so she sees the more startling changes; she commented yesterday that I "look much younger", and my skin is in much better condition.

I'm eating absolutely normally: three square meals a day, with no more limitation than a bit of portion awareness, limiting the alcohol to one drink per day, and avoiding the obvious pitfalls like overloads of cheese and butter. Breakfast is a decent portion of muesli (Dorset Cereals - the best) with fruit and home-made plain yogurt. Lunch is usually soup or salad with a slice of bread (home-made again - get out that gingham pinny!!). Supper is a sensible amount of carb (pasta, rice, couscous, spuds), a lump of protein, a fair spread of vegetables or salad; a glass of wine, and some combination of ice-cream (I love Skinny Cow Madly Deeply - a vanilla & chocolate mix, with bits of Malteser in it!), yogurt and fruit for dessert. Generally my cooking is fairly low-fat, but if a recipe desperately needs a splash of oil or a drop of butter, I don't panic about it. My snacks are mostly fruit or Ryvita. I love my food too much to do it any other way (and get far too hungry if I cut out carbohydrate).

It's true to say that the weight is no longer terribly important. If I can reach:
  • the waist measurement I'd like (about 80 cm - halfway there at present)
  • the ideal body fat percentage (apparently the healthy range for my age is 23%-34%, so let's have a good Anglican compromise and aim for about 28% - quite a long way to go on that one)
- then I guess that a few more pounds will come off; but for the first time in years - possibly in my entire life - I am genuinely happy with the way that I look and, more importantly, feel. I have no wish to head for a size zero - a reliable 12 is just fine by me. I can now get back into loads of clothes that I thought I'd abandoned forever, and if I achieve the further inch loss above, there will be more still. (Not that it's stopped me indulging in some self-congratulatory retail therapy from time to time!)

You'll have gathered from these posts that there have been some vital contributors to this journey. My friends and family, sponsoring me for the Race for Life, praising and encouraging me. My husband, loving me at every size, happy to eat low-fat, walking with me, appreciating every achievement; and Kim: supportive, encouraging, professional, a friend. I could say she's changed my life; what is probably more accurate is to say she's enabled me to change my own life, which is actually far more important. God bless you all.

This isn't dieting; this is living the way that I want to live from now on.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Blog blog

This blogging lark is quite a revelation at times. Having discovered the "next blog" link at the top of this site, I've occasionally gone down the serendipity route to see what I could find purely at random. Most of it is complete rubbish, but occasionally a diamond finds it way through.

New discovery is Blogs By Women, and through there I've landed up at Cranky Fitness. I especially relish her Ten Commandments. At last: common sense and humour. You go, girl.

Friday, 1 June 2007

I'm worn out

For anybody who is starting to think that this blog is far too good to be true (Pollyanna? moi?) it may be reassuring that today I get the feeling that I'm still not ready for everyday exercise just yet!!

Yesterday's run with Kim was comfortable. Today I intended to go to the gym and try out my revised routine; but it's been such a gorgeous day again, and I needed to go to the post office in Lenwade anyway, that I thought, why waste it - I'll have a run round the lakes.

Well, I did it OK - walked once round the slightly smaller lake and then jogged round it, to warm up; then one circuit of the larger lake, followed by two circuits and then three, and finally one circuit walking. So about four miles in all, or a bit more than. But it wasn't really easy at any point; felt like I was going uphill all the time (which logically can't be the case!). Timing wasn't bad; each half-mile circuit took about 4:45 or thereabouts, including those done as three on the trot (if you'll forgive the pun). But I'm very tired now.

So I'm coming to the conclusion that, at least for the moment, real-exercise-every-other-day is probably a good idea; if I want to bump up the step record on the pedometer on the days in between, it had better be a walk!

But I'm glad I didn't miss a day like this.

This week's progress: 4

After today's visit to Norwich, I went over to Kim's for a run in Wymondham - as she's been here so often in recent weeks I thought it was my turn to do the travelling. (Selwyn had a meeting to attend, despite it being his day off.)

Wymondham is a lovely little town, and the surrounding roads, parks and byways are delightful. We ran what we reckon was about two miles, keeping a constant ten-minute-mile speed, and I felt very comfortable with this. And, after a couple of weeks' virtually non-stop rain, it was also a glorious evening.

Kim's flat is on a farm - here are a few donkeys...!

(as Kim will probably say, "cheeky mare...")

This week's progress: 3

Yesterday was Thursday - day off. Selwyn & I went into Norwich to see a lunchtime concert at the King of Hearts arts centre - click here to read more about that - and then, well, I needed some new underwear! As you do... With the help of the nice lady in M&S, we came to the conclusion that I'm now a 34F - had been as high as a 36G - so bought the first genuinely pretty bits of underwear that I've owned in years.

No, I'm not about to publish photographic evidence in the public domain - the sight of the Rector's wife in her knickers might be just a bit too much to handle...

... oh, but I suppose I must also admit to another visit to East, and to the purchase of a pillar-box-red, flared summer skirt. I know East are generous with their sizes, but when I was trying on the size 12, the saleslady looked at me and said "are you sure you don't want to go down a size?" (my husband's comment to her was "you get today's gold star"); and yes, the 10 won hands-down. I hasten to add that an East 10 is definitely an any-other-shop 12; but it does the ego loads of good!

This week's progress: 2

The weight is now hovering between 146.5 and 148 lb. Seeing it dip under ten-and-a-half-stone was a great thrill - the last time it was down in that region was 2003.

The thing is, it's less of an issue now. Yes, it's a lovely way to calibrate progress, but I am far more interested in the fact that I can run for 2-3 miles without any problems; that my hip measurement has reduced by nine centimetres (yes, nine) in just over four months; that I've been buying clothes in a size twelve; that I feel stronger.

Over supper on Tuesday, we were discussing my next goals - as Kim said, "you've achieved all your original ones!" (to lose an initial stone and review matters, to run the Race for Life, to get my body-shape confidence back). So what are my new goals?

  • to be able to run 5km (3.1 miles) at a consistent speed of 10 mph, without stopping
  • to get my waist measurement down to 31" (as a classic apple shape, it's the last thing to reduce on me - it's reduced from 35" to 33" so far)
  • to get my body fat down to the recommended 28% (I don't know what that is until we have our next PT session at the weekend; last time we measured it, about five weeks ago, it was 36.0% down from 38.6% in January)

This week's progress: 1

On Tuesday I went down to the gym, clutching my new PT programme. I ran for 15 minutes on the treadmill, and took the speed to 8.5 km/hour - this is still comfortable, which thrills me. Better still, when I looked around for another CV machine (it was very busy that evening) I decided on the cross-trainer, which I haven't used in months; and when I chose to do the workout which, in a previous life, was very hard work, it was (whisper it) actually fairly easy! I'd better notch it up next time...

Having completed the CV work, I moved on to the first of the "new" weight machines in my repertoire - the 45 Degree Leg Press. Lie on your back, hold heavy weight up with feet, bend legs to bring weight lower. It couldn't be less dignified if it tried - but very effective! (I only needed 5kg on each side at this point, so had to ask a muscle-bound weight-trainer to move the 20kg weights that were on there. Not cool.)

Anyway, there I was with my legs in the air (sounds like the start of my favourite Maureen Lipman joke, I'll tell you that another time) and who walks up but Kim. So we went round the rest of the weights circuit together, and I invite her home for supper afterwards - great evening.